Running is a uniquely joyous human activity. Children at play can scarcely contain their joy in running after each other, and we often find joy watching others run. Witness the popularity of watching various athletic events � the human body in motion, and specifically running, is a joy to behold.
Many of us hope to recapture that joy by running for fitness, yet how many of us have captured the ease and lightness we�re seeking? I witness the majority of runners on the trail, and their facial expressions indicate some sort of pain or discomfort. In my work as a Yoga Therapist, this observation is reinforced � many runners suffer injuries and often are in pain.
This is unfortunate, as running is a natural movement of the human body. We don�t generally believe that walking will ultimately lead to injury, and at a certain age we�d best give up walking for good. With running, on the other hand, we generally assume we have some good years in us, with the sword of injury hanging inevitably above our knees and back.
The problem is not with the activity of running � the problem is with our approach and technique. With the proliferation of highly-cushioned shoes, running technique has devolved from what our body was designed to do into an activity that bangs and jars the body. Jogging is not running, and is very hard on the body.
Because many of us have been jogging, and not running, there may be some habits to re-learn. As with most habits, a good start is to learn what the desired motion is, then utilize specific exercises to reinforce the healthier habits into the body-mind. At the same time, a balanced yoga practice can show us the imbalances imbedded into our body that may impact our natural ability to run; using yogic techniques, a more aligned and balanced body will be naturally resistant to injury.
From Monday August 1st to Friday the 5th, from 6-8am each day, I will be showing how yoga is a logical lead-in to rediscover the joys of running. This camp will have three distinct parts.
The basis of growth in yoga, and arguably life in general, is mindfulness. Each morning session will start with instruction in mindfulness meditation. Greater mindfulness opens the doors to learning new things, in addition to all the scientifically proven benefits of meditation.
Following the meditation session, participants will enjoy a brisk yoga routine. This routine will emphasize re-aligning the body, and developing the breathing. An aligned body moves more efficiently and resists injury, while learning yogic breathing can help both newer and experienced runners develop greater aerobic capacity.
Having spent the first hour of our morning session indoors in the yoga studio, we�ll turn our attention to running. The second hour of each morning session will focus on running technique, and will be held outdoors on the shores of Lake Wingra.
The running instruction will start by watching videos of great runners, and observing what makes their movement so fluid and efficient. With an understanding of what�s possible, participants will learn simple exercises to feel these movements in their own body. Once these movements become the new normal, participants will practice easy-to-learn running drills that reinforce healthy and efficient running technique.
By the end of the week, participants will have an understanding of healthy gait, and the steps that lead to efficient running. Regardless of starting fitness level, each participant will possess a roadmap to enjoy the natural activity of running.
For more information, questions or to register for Summer Camp 2011, visit https://www.alignmentyoga.com/ubercart/summer-camp-yoga-and-joy-running.